Over the past several months here at Equip, I have had the privilege of growing in discipleship with others, though in a rather non-traditional way. My discipleship has been with women who have yet to follow Jesus. In my own life, there was a time I would have questioned if that was even possible. How can you disciple someone who is not a follower of Jesus?
Yet for many Muslims, as well as people of other religious backgrounds, pre-salvation discipleship oftentimes affects how they come to faith in Jesus. More importantly, I would like to offer this as the model Jesus himself demonstrated. After all, not until Peter and the other disciples had lived with Jesus for some time did Peter confessed him as the Christ. We never see in Scripture the precise moment Peter came to this revelation and truly gave his all to following Jesus as Christ and Lord.
Today, too, it can be challenging to know when to consider a person a believer – a disciple of Jesus who has confessed him as Lord, Savior, King. It has been humbling and completely freeing to know God himself is the One who knows and can say with certainty when that moment occurs for any individual. My role is simply to disciple, both before and after the actual moment of salvation.
Living a life of love and devotion to Jesus spills out to others, and I have seen this reality in the lives of several women I have been discipling. These ladies have not started following Jesus, but as they see me following, I trust the Lord is stirring their hearts to want to do the same.
Recently, one of my Nepali friends, who I will call Sarah, told me with tears how I am a best friend to her. She clearly had not felt loved like this before, and the love of Jesus has touched her in a deep way through me. It is amazing what his love does in hearts!
Sarah also shared that since I have started telling her about Jesus and the Bible, she now stops before she does certain things and there are other things she does not want to do anymore. Though from what I know Sarah has not claimed Jesus as her Savior, the Holy Spirit is convicting her heart of sin. A new heart is necessary for her thoughts and attitudes to truly change, but the process of discipleship is already being used by God to show Sarah her sin and stir a desire for a relationship with God.
Obedience and Sharing
Sarah is a part of a new Bible study that the Lord has allowed to start among Nepalese people here in our neighborhood. Part of Bible study each week is to share how we will apply what we have learned and who we will tell the Bible story.
Discipleship is grown through the application and sharing of Scripture as Sarah and others learn obedience to God. Once Sarah gives her life to Jesus as a follower – which I believe she will! – she will know that God cares about love for him in our hearts and obedience to him in our lives. Further, she will already be practicing a lifestyle of sharing with others, sowing gospel seeds in the lives of those around her. How amazing that these Scriptural truths will be at the root of Sarah’s faith!
I live my life loving Jesus, loving others (like Sarah), and intentionally sharing Scripture as I have conversations throughout my day. A life of following Jesus also means a life of discipling others, and the Holy Spirit has provided all that you need to disciple others to faith as well. Will you answer his call to discipleship so precious men, women and children like Sarah can know and worship our Jesus?
If you would like to learn more about discipleship and discipling others to faith, consider joining us for Equip’s missionary training program.